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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  February 12, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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i was in my room. it was all dark. and like everything was just spinning away from me into blackness. it was terrifying. >> reporter: it was a whirlwind romance with mister right that morphed into a mind-bending mystery. >> my blood ran cold. >> she was like, "i feel i'm being watched." >> my phone would be followed. he said, "you could be under surveillance." >> reporter: followed? surveillance? she'd stepped right into "the twilight zone"! hidden codes. government agents. undercover spies. >> i was so scared. who was this man she was about to marry? your brain has got to be saying "holy cow!" to learn the truth, she would launch a secret mission of her own. >> testing, testing.
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a high-stakes game of spy versus spy. >> reporter: you were your own detective here? >> i was. he wasn't going to stop unless somebody stopped him. >> reporter: i'm lester holt and this is "dateline." here's dennis murphy with "the mystery man". . >> reporter: what's love got to do with it? well, as mischele lewis tells it, just about everything. love, her new guy, at long last made her tingle as though ginger ale had filled her heart. >> i felt really good about myself. he was just a wonderful person. >> reporter: but, why oh why, should something so good and rare lead to such a dark place? a shadowy world where nothing was as it seemed. where secrets became goggles blinding the truth. >> this is so intricate and so dark. >> reporter: as she was pulled deeper into the riptide of her fiance's hidden underworld,
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she'd join forces with a woman an ocean away to uncover the truth. >> he has intruded on every part of your body, of your mind. >> reporter: would mischele be as patient at the game of revenge as she'd been in the game of love? . mischele lewis is a born caregiver. as a little girl in southern new jersey she daydreamed about working somewhere in medicine, helping people. >> i knew i always wanted to do something in medicine from when i was probably eight or nine. but it changed. i wanted to be a veterinarian, then i wanted to be a pediatrician. >> reporter: sure enough, as an adult she got her nursing degree and reported happily to the labor and delivery ward. you're with the team delivering babies right? >> i do. it's wonderful every day. you connect with your patients. i'm there with them the whole way. i've cried with them. i've laughed with them. it's amazing. >> reporter: fellow nurse robyn meyers says mischele is a natural -- as a nurse, and as a best friend.
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>> she's a light in a dark place. she's wonderful. she's the one trying to brighten up somebody else's bad day. . >> reporter: but mischele has seen her own share of bad days. for years, she struggled in a difficult marriage, eventually moving with her kids into her mother shirley's house. >> she knew that she would be the single parent. and she put her best foot forward to do that. >> reporter: after calling it quits with her husband, she started to explore the possibility of finding new love. she went online, and found a dating site called establishedmen.com. she liked the connotations of that name. >> i wanted somebody who was established, had their stuff together. >> reporter: and there on the website, one man caught her eye. his name was liam allen. >> he seemed to be well travelled, well versed. everything he had said was what i was looking for. >> reporter: they agreed to meet
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for coffee at the mall. >> i walked in. he was exactly like his photo. very warm smile, very nice, very charming. i would say it was probably a good four hours, four or five hours, that we just sat there and talked. >> reporter: so this was a long cup of coffee this day. >> it was a long cup of coffee. i had a really good vibe when we parted. >> reporter: as they talked more in the days that followed, liam allen opened up about his life. never married, no kids. like mischele, liam had been born in new jersey, but was raised in the united kingdom. nice lilt to the voice. >> liked the accent. >> reporter: another bonus, he was geographically desirable. liam had a nice house in the nearby town of cherry hill. >> he had sent me photos of it. he had sent me renovation photos of before, during and after. >> reporter: all well and good, but she wanted to know more about his resume. the guy you met at the mall is nice but i need to know more and, do you have some i.d., bud?
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>> well, i did go to the internet, typed in his name. nothing came up. i'm like, "okay, so he's not like some crazy criminal with a past record." >> reporter: mischele could feel herself letting go. she felt comfortable about starting to see liam more. >> it felt good to be myself again, to laugh again, to be happy. >> reporter: but mischele soon discovered liam allen came with boundaries. notably, he told her he couldn't spend time with her outside of the hours of 9:00 to 5:00. >> he did warn me that a lot of nights and weekends he would not be available. >> reporter: did you think it was a little off-putting? >> i thought it was a little bizarre. >> reporter: liam explained his odd schedule was related to his night-time work with a medical records software company. but still it bothered her. why could he barely send her a text while on the job? he used to talk about, what, "being on the map and off the map?" >> it's kind of what i started to use, was on the map and off the map for the blackout times. >> reporter: when mischele asked liam about why he was so distant, he slowly began to
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reveal some jaw-dropping information. his true line of work wasn't in computers. he took out his phone and pointed to some letters at the top of the screen. >> it just says, u.k. and he says, "it says u.k. because i work for the british government." >> reporter: liam allen went on to describe his assignment for the british ministry of defense as a kind of glorified chauffeur, shuttling foreign dignitaries and other vips back and forth between new york and d.c. and as for that medical software company? well, it was real. >> he also was asked to obtain personal medical information on targeted people. >> reporter: targeted people. so he's in the secret world. it's a spy, mischele? >> pretty much. >> reporter: it was a doozie of a secret! liam allen, the easy chatting established man, turns out to be a spy for the british government.
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your brain has got to be saying, "holy cow, what is this guy telling me," right? >> i was a little taken aback. >> reporter: are you starting to drift out of your body as you're hearing this story? >> i was a little concerned. but he was willing kind of hold my hand through it. >> reporter: and there was more. liam told her that to date him seriously, she'd need to follow his rules, and that meant disclosing her entire personal life to the british authorities and undergoing her own government security clearance. >> he told me that in the coming weeks he would bring me an application. i said, "oh, i have to apply to be with you?" he said, "no, because i work for the ministry of defense, you need to be security checked." >> reporter: he's telling you you're going to be introduced into this secret life. >> pretty much. >> reporter: of british intelligence. >> he told me i could think about it. >> reporter: on the plus side, once she got clearance, liam said there'd be no more communication blackout periods. but if she declined the vetting process, she could never meet his parents or even visit his
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house. >> i couldn't meet them. i couldn't go to the cherry hill home. like, we had, like, no-go zones. >> reporter: so this is getting stranger and stranger, mischele. >> very. very strange. >> reporter: did you think this was really quite cool or kind of scary? >> a little of both. . liam allen. of this guy a james bond or jason bourne? when we come back, the spy games begin. >> what other secrets may this man of mystery be keeping? >> you put the name into google. >> i did. horrific, horrific news. beyond anything i could have expected. .
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>> reporter: the guy mischele lewis had been dating was shaping up to be mr. right, right up to the point he told her he worked for the british government, as some kind of covert operative. but she was willing to try to make things work and to field her mother's questions about him. >> after i kept badgering her sort of like a mother would, she finally told me. i said, "you're kidding? he works for the british government?" and i said, "oh my gosh!" and she says, "mom, you can't tell him." >> reporter: mischele needed to prove she could keep a secret because liam had just given her a manila envelope stuffed with official-looking documents. the security clearance application. >> everything was very personal information, background information, date of birth,
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social security number. and then in the pages after that, it was almost like taking the s.a.t.'s. it was, like, an essay format. >> reporter: did you do it? did you fill out the form? >> i did not. >> reporter: but mischele would soon find out that liam had already passed on her name to his bosses, and they were already checking up on her. >> in may is when i first received an odd text message from a number i didn't recognize. >> reporter: the person introduced himself as tom chalmers from the five star realty company. >> he said, "i understand that you made an inquiry regarding one of our overseas properties located in the u.k., specifically, an allen home model." >> reporter: little light bulb there? >> not at first, it took me a minute. >> reporter: she noticed the texts were coming from the 202 area code, washington, d.c. >> that's when the light bulb hit. it was like, oh, these are -- >> reporter: this is part of your security clearance? >> yes. >> reporter: did you ride with it? did you play your part?
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>> i did. because i thought that's what was expected of me. so, yeah, i did. i went along with the code. it was crazy. >> reporter: and the ride was about to get a lot crazier. >> he said that my phone would be followed. like, mine and liam's phones were kind of like dots on a map. >> reporter: and liam allen even told mischele and her mom to expect some surveillance at their own house. >> he says, "don't be surprised if a car rides by. they're just checking you out." so, like, ten, 15, 20 minutes later, a car would ride by with dark windows. and he says, "they've just seen you on the porch." >> she was like, "i feel like i'm being watched. i feel like i'm under a microscope, and i feel like it is starting to creep me out." >> reporter: if mischele's life was no longer quite her own, soon she was being asked to risk even more. again, in coded language, tom
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chalmers instructed her to transfer some money into a certain account. your personal money? >> my personal money. >> reporter: and what was that for? >> it was to basically prove that i was committed to everything. i was committed to liam, committed to the process. >> reporter: the money transfers of a few hundred dollars would be returned when the security clearance was complete. mischele followed through and held on. >> i had a strange gut feeling that told me i need to keep going, that the light at the other end will be worth it. >> reporter: liam allen would be worth it? >> he would be worth it. >> reporter: now a few months into their relationship, liam was decidedly on the map at home. turned out he was great with mischele's children, especially her teenage daughter. >> he related to victoria very well. he was there for her. . >> reporter: but behind the scenes, mischele was starting to realize just how deep and dangerous liam allen's covert
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connections really were. there was the time he showed up late to a summer wedding wearing heavy winter clothing, only to tell her to keep her eye on the news. >> and the following week is when the whole edward snowden story broke. >> reporter: when she learned snowden had sought asylum in the cold country of iceland, she realized her boyfriend must have played a part. >> i knew before it was a big deal, which was a little creepy. then the news came out. >> reporter: it's a little creepy, now, mischele. >> it is creepy. >> reporter: and it wasn't the only time mischele says liam tipped her off about a world event before it went public. >> when kate middleton had her baby i had a couple hours notice on that. syria, i knew about the attacks in syria before it hit mainstream media. >> reporter: so he was getting secret mojo from somebody? >> he knew somebody somewhere who knew something. and i knew too. >> reporter: and then came that strange early morning phone call from one of liam's british
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handlers. >> 4:00 on the dot, my phone starts going off. "hey, wake up, wake up. i gotta talk to you." >> reporter: the handler felt she should be clued in about liam's treacherous past. he was way more than a driver. after 9/11 he'd been dispatched to an elite mission to the middle east to spearhead the take-down of top bad guys, faces from the military's infamous "terrorist deck of cards". so your liam was an operative. he was a commando basically in the war against terrorism? >> it was very, very heavy news. >> reporter: the question now had to be asked, how much did the terrorists know about him and the people closest to him? a chilling thought, but any fears about terrorists would be pushed aside because, a few weeks before christmas, liam asked for mischele's hand in marriage. on his knees? >> on his knee. and i said yes. >> reporter: her family and friends were thrilled for her. >> mischele came to work, and i looked and she went -- and i went, ohh!
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>> this is what she wanted, so i was pleased with it. >> reporter: but what should have been a happy new chapter together was the start of a descent into chaos. liam began coming around less and less, skipping christmas celebrations with her family. mr. wonderful never showed? >> didn't show. i was so upset. i was infuriated. i was absolutely infuriated. i was crushed. >> reporter: then in january, mischele discovered she was pregnant. and how did that conversation, "i've got some news for you," go? >> he told me he needed to process. >> reporter: process? there's a disconnect. >> yes. >> reporter: hurt, confused, she searched her memory for when it all went wrong. and she recalled a detail about her inscrutable fiance. a couple of weeks before, she had nosed into liam's wallet. >> something urged me to look in it. i opened it up, and i pulled out a card, and it said, william allen jordan. >> reporter: william allen jordan? >> uh-huh. and i was, like, "wow, this isn't him.
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it's close, but it's not him." >> reporter: at the time, she'd tucked the information away, thinking it must be an alias used for undercover work. but now she decided to dig some more. you put that name into google. >> uh-huh, i did. >> reporter: what came back? >> horrific, horrific news. beyond anything i could've expected. >> reporter: enter, enter, enter, and it just gets worse, and worse, and worse. >> the more i read, the worse it gets. >> reporter: coming up -- >> this was not a surprise to me. i knew this of going to happen. >> reporter: a revelation from halfway around the world. another woman with another tale about liam allen. >> it was devastating. it was crushing. it was like coming out of the matrix. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues. .
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>> reporter: mischele lewis had been poring over a flood of shocking information she found online about her fiance liam allen. >> i was in my room. it was all dark. and, like, everything was just spinning. like, the hallway was kind of like, going away from me, into, like, blackness. i was literally sick. >> reporter: he was notorious, no better word for this william allen jordan, the true name on liam's wallet i.d. she saw that someone had even written a book about him, a woman named mary turner thomson, who lived in scotland. she emailed the author. >> i said, "oh my god, i'm dating this man right now." >> and i immediately sent her my phone number. >> reporter: mary had been expecting the call, from
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mischele, or someone just like her. >> this is not a surprise to me. i knew this was going to happen. >> reporter: and the story mary turner thomson in scotland began to tell mischele lewis back in new jersey was eerily similar to mischele's own. it began in late 2000. mary was a single mother living in edinburgh when she met a man named will jordan. >> he was charming. he was tall. he was good looking, and he just seemed to be, you know, a really, really nice guy. >> reporter: he told her he was from america, and worked in i.t. she found him highly intelligent, humble and family-oriented. spending time with mary's daughter, now 15. >> he would play games and stuff. >> it's him. oh yay, we're going to have fun today. >> reporter: but just as mischele lewis would experience it years later, mary also grew frustrated with his frequent absences. >> i wasn't happy with it at all, so i started digging into
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his background a bit and trying to find out more about him. >> reporter: mary, in her private detective mode, traced will jordan to an address, and when she peeked over the fence into the house's yard, she saw children's toys. she confronted him. >> he sat down and said, "i have something to tell you." and he explained to me that he was working for the o.d.c.i., more commonly known in the u.k. as cia. >> reporter: that house with toys in the yard? he explained it was actually a safe-house for agents, only staged to look like a family lived there. a female agent on-site sometimes posed as his wife. and as time passed, will jordan gave mary all the proof she needed to believe him. she spoke with other agents on the phone. and when he was called away, she received his dispatches from the war on terror. >> i can't really complain, you know, it's rather like complaining about superman not coming back for dinner. >> reporter: so mary kept a stiff upper lip when jordan postponed their wedding date after being sent on an assignment. but they did eventually get
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married. and soon after, they welcomed their first child. it was a baby girl, whom they named eilidh. >> he was, like, really fun, but then, like kind of strict. it was almost like he -- you knew he cared about you. >> reporter: a baby boy named zach soon followed. but not long after, will jordan's work threatened mary and the children in the most dire way imaginable. >> he explained to me that insurgents that he'd dealt with in the past were now threatening him. and that they were going to steal the children, kidnap them, and rip bits of them and send this through the post unless we came up with money to pay them off. >> reporter: frantic, mary sold her house, and emptied her bank account. >> i had nothing left. i just thought, you know, there is no further down i can go. >> reporter: but how wrong she was. almost four years into her marriage to will jordan, the phone rang. >> april the 5th, 2006, i got a phone call from a woman who said, "are you mary turner thomson?" and i said, yes. and she said, "are you also mrs.
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jordan?" and i said, yes. and she said, "i'm the other mrs. jordan." >> reporter: that's when the other mrs. jordan delivered the knockout punch. >> she said, "have you been told i'm an agent?" and i said, yes. and she said, "i've been told you're an agent." >> reporter: if both women had been told the other was a fake wife, then in reality both of them were likely his real wives. mary confirmed the sickening truth. both were married to william allen jordan and both had children by him. their husband was no special agent, just a fraud and a bigamist. >> it was devastating. it was crushing. it was like the whole of my -- it was like coming out of the matrix. >> reporter: now it was mischele lewis' turn back in new jersey to absorb the massive import of what mary was telling her. >> everything was a lie. everything was a lie. he had been married. he had children. >> reporter: are you angry, heartbroken or somewhere in between? >> oh, everything. i was like putting all your feelings in a blender and hitting the highest setting.
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>> reporter: and even more shocking? mischele learned that it hadn't been just mary and the other mrs. jordan in this man's life. there were others. oh yes, there were. >> he has 13 children by six different women. he had two wives and five fiances in 2005. >> reporter: this baker's dozen of sons and daughters live in several different countries, and range in age from 28 to 4. he had four children within one year by three different women. mary sums up her take on his m.o. to target single mothers, get them pregnant, and then siphon away from them money and other valuables. >> and the thing is, he doesn't pick dim women either. he picks intelligent women, because otherwise it's like playing chess with a toddler. >> reporter: mary exposed jordan in her book "the bigamist". and after realizing he'd ultimately taken her for around $300,000 she also helped put him in prison. in 2006 he was convicted in a
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british court of bigamy, fraud, and illegal possession of a stun gun. mary says after jordan spent two and a half years behind bars, he was deported to the u.s. >> and within about six months, i was contacted by the first of his victims in the usa. >> reporter: mary heard from a woman in the northeast, another in mexico. >> the weird thing was, after 2010, there was nothing. >> reporter: that is, until the call from mischele lewis. and once mischele's head stopped spinning, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. beat will jordan at his own game and then bring him down for good. >> i want to be one of his very last victims. ever. >> reporter: coming up -- liam allen, british spy, meet mischele lewis, super spy. does he suspect anything's going on here in this hidden camera stuff? she is going rogue. did the authorities know that you were doing this? >> no, they did not.
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>> reporter: mischele lewis' head spun like the dry cycle on a washer. too much to take in. according to a woman named mary in scotland, the man she was engaged to marry was a rare breed of devious career criminal
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and a complete fraud. he's a phantom. he doesn't even exist. you don't know who this person is, who this liam allen is? >> no. he certainly wasn't who he portrayed. everything was a lie. >> reporter: did you feel like the biggest fool who was ever born? >> oh yeah. i was, like, "oh, my god, i can't believe i fell for this. >> reporter: and mary in scotland, said something to reassure you on that point, didn't she? >> she did. i said, you know, "oh, my god, i feel so ashamed." and she said, "don't be. he's been doing this for three decades." she says he's very good. >> reporter: and of all the things mischele learned about william jordan, one was most chilling. in 2006 he'd also pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender. mischele found out his prior conviction involved the daughter of one of his victims, a girl around the same age as mischele's own daughter. how awful is that? >> horrible. it was very scary. >> reporter: this man i brought into the household, is he targeting my daughter possibly? >> yeah. he was never alone with my kids. but i don't know what his long-term plans were. >> reporter: but as tempting as it was for mischele to just crawl in a hole and make it all
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disappear, she couldn't. for one, she was still pregnant with this man's child and had a supremely difficult decision to make. >> his first wife said mental illness ran throughout the family lines. and as a nurse, i know how genetic that can be. not only that, but it would've tied me to him forever, to have that baby. so thinking long and hard, i chose to terminate. >> reporter: and you know, as people hear your story, they will be judgmental about you, because of that fact. >> oh, absolutely. but they're not walking in my shoes. it's not their life they have to live. it wouldn't be that child's life. this monster of a man would be labeled as their father. >> reporter: the painful decision made, she vowed to make her broken dreams his last betrayal. >> now, it was trying to prevent anyone else from being hurt, to stop his damage. >> reporter: but how? first, mischele confronted him at her house. >> i said, you know, "who's mary?"
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and he looked at me a little quizzically. and i said, "you know, your wife." and he just kind of closed his eyes. and he just kind of sighed. and he said, "you know?" and i said, "oh yes, i know everything." >> reporter: but instead of disappearing, will jordan, the international man of mystery, did something surprising. first, he came clean, sort of, explaining his misdeeds were a thing of the past. then he tried to woo mischele right back. >> he very much thought that he had his claws in her so deep that she was just going to roll over and say, "okay, that's fine. i still love you." >> reporter: and that gave mischele an idea. if william allen jordan still wanted to play, then mischele would give as good as she got. through mary turner thomson's connections, mischele linked up with a surveillance video company. >> he had brought me this purse which has a camera built into
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this little rivet here, he fitted me with a vest that had a camera on it. testing, testing. >> reporter: now she'd play the part of a spy, and try to catch him making incriminating statements on video. did the authorities knew that you were doing this? >> unh-uh, no, they did not. they probably would've advised against it, for safety purposes. >> reporter: she chose a public place for their first meeting, agreeing to a talk over coffee. >> how are your parents doing? >> they're okay. >> reporter: after some chit-chat, jordan assures her he's still the man she fell in love with and that not everything about him is a lie. >> well, that's the hard part. i'm trying to differentiate between what's true and what's not. >> and you really can't. at the moment you really can't. it's too soon. >> reporter: does he suspect anything's going on here in this hidden camera stuff? >> i was hoping not. but i became very nervous and i started to fidget with my hands. i mean i completely shredded a poor napkin. >> reporter: jordan even wonders aloud if she's taken the story to the press. >> what's the worst that can happen?
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how could i cope with it if, you know, your next phone call was to a reporter -- >> but i'm not that -- >> i'm just saying, like i said to you -- >> because, trust me, that would expose me as well. >> reporter: he's the one to bring up all the allegations against him. all these horrible, horrible, horrible things that i've done and supposed to have done. and all the things i'm supposed to have taken all the people i was supposed to have hurt. and this, that and the other. >> reporter: he tells mischele to put those transgressions in perspective. >> not stealing millions of dollars, not beating up little old ladies, not hanging out in school yards. >> reporter: but he didn't deny any of the major allegations against him? >> no, he didn't deny. he didn't out rightly admit them, but he didn't deny, including -- >> reporter: including the sexual attack on a minor child, a little girl? >> yeah, absolutely. >> reporter: mischele shows him a picture, a montage of his own
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children, 11 of the 13 known. his response is a shrug. >> i can't connect with that because -- >> really? >> no, because what can i do about it? >> reporter: before they wrap up, mischele gives him a piece of her mind. >> my perspective is i feel like i have been amazing to you in the last year, and i feel like you [ bleep ] on me. >> and that would be an appropriate perspective given what you know. >> reporter: this day felt light-years away from that first long cup of coffee they'd once shared. and yet, when they part, it's almost as if nothing is different. >> you know i always love spending time with you. >> i love you. >> i love you too. that hasn't changed. >> i hope it doesn't. >> bye, sweetie. >> reporter: on one of these tapes he says, "i love you." and you reply, "i love you, too." >> yeah. i'm like, "okay, i can't take that out of rotation quite yet. he may know something's up." >> reporter: after her first day
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of secretly recording william allen jordan, mischele knew she had him right where she wanted him. but she wasn't done with him yet. >> i wasn't happy with all the answers that i had that day. i knew i needed more. >> reporter: it was time for mischele lewis to go undercover again and turn up the heat on william allen jordan. >> because i still want answers. at the end of the day, i still want answers. >> reporter: coming up, deeper under cover, but now over her head? >> i was so scared. i knew that she was supposed to be undercover that day. i was like, oh, my gosh, did something happen to her? >> when "dateline" continues. . i feel like me again. i eat chips. i love chips! i love chips! in the first 2 months members have lost 15% more weight
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>> reporter: after mischele's first undercover session with will jordan, she was eager for more, to capture any more footage of him that could be used as evidence perhaps in a criminal case. >> it was more about gaining evidence against him. can i get him to confess? >> reporter: she taped him every chance she got, with the purse, her phone, her ipad. >> testing, testing, 1-2-3, testing. >> reporter: she was concerned about him detecting the camera. >> i was so worried wearing the shirt that he would feel it if he tried to hug me. >> hello. >> hey. >> how ya doing? >> good, how are you? >> fine. >> reporter: and she had to worry for her safety. she had no idea who this man really was or what he was truly capable of.
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>> i was so scared. every day i went to meet him i would tell mary i was going. i would tell my mom i was going. i told my friends i was going. >> reporter: because mischele was about to turn up the heat on william allen jordan. she asked him more about his prior conviction for sex assault against an underage girl, which mischele had found out he'd pleaded guilty to. >> he denied it. i said, "why would you plead guilty to it?" and he said, "it would've cost me more money in legal fees to get out of it." and he said, "by pleading guilty," he said, "i got a lesser sentence." >> reporter: and now, two weeks after mischele's first undercover session, she set up another secret recording of him, this time in her car. >> i set my ipad to record audio, and i tucked it between his seat and the center console with the microphone facing up. at the end of the day, i still want answers. i don't care if they're blunt. i don't care if they're mean or spiteful, but at least there will be answers. >> reporter: she put jordan on the spot. was he really a british spy?
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his answer was cryptic. >> i never lied about what i actually did. i lied about who it was for directly. >> he said that he didn't lie about his job. that he did lie about who he worked for, but he didn't lie about what he did. >> reporter: what does that mean? that's a little ominous. >> it is. >> reporter: what part of him was the truth? >> he did admit to the wives, to the kids. he denied taking the money that he took. he said, "they all knew what was going on." >> reporter: back in the car, she pressed on. just who was tom chalmers, his supposed british handler? >> the possibility is it could have been you, not that i'm saying that it was. >> could have been me? >> reporter: she wondered why she stopped hearing from the handlers. >> maybe you didn't feel like keeping the charade up beyond that of three different people. i don't know. >> whoa. >> trust me, i mean you cannot believe all -- >> i can't keep my own charade up. >> reporter: she also leaned into him about her missing
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money, those funds she'd wired to the handlers for the security clearance. >> for all i know, maybe you spent it! i don't know. i have no answers. >> reporter: he said neither did he. he had nothing to do with the demands they made on her. >> ranting at me about it is not beneficial because i can't do anything about it. >> reporter: but ultimately, it's not about the money for mischele. she has lost so much more. >> i just want to stop hurting. that's all. i just -- >> and that's what we're trying to do. >> this is supposed to be love. love's not supposed to hurt. >> love does hurt sometimes, as you well know. >> reporter: in the end, jordan told her the decision about whether to stay with him was hers alone to make. >> you will have to reach whatever conclusions you reach and act on them. >> reporter: and act, she did, with the help of mary in scotland. back at home, mischele scanned through her hours of footage and fact-checked jordan's stories with mary. >> i racked up crazy amounts of cell phone bills calling her to say, "hey, this is what he told
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me. what can you verify?" and she'd say, "okay, this is the truth. this is an absolute lie. and this is what's kind of cloaked in kind of half truth." >> reporter: as for jordan's take on the meetings, mary turner thomson got the sense that her former husband was enjoying every minute of it. >> it's a challenge. it's the challenge that he likes. having let someone down and then having to pull them back under your control, that's exciting, that's entertaining. >> reporter: but what jordan didn't know is how deeply mischele was now connected to the other women from his past life. >> i introduced michelle to five, six of the other victims because i still talk to them all. he thought she had one little puzzle piece, you know, whereas she actually had the whole thing. >> reporter: with behind the scenes support from jordan's other women, mischele forged ahead with her undercover subterfuge, right up to her emotional breaking point. >> here she is trying to portray her old self in front of him, where she's screaming inside, wanting to just tear him apart
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because of what he's done to her, what he's done to her life. >> reporter: and then the unthinkable happened. mischele went missing. she hadn't checked in with family and friends all day, and no one could reach her. >> i kept calling and calling and calling. and i'm thinking, my gosh, where is she? >> i knew that she was supposed to be undercover that day, that she was supposed to be meeting him, and i got concerned. i was like, "oh, my gosh, did something happen to her? >> reporter: had mischele's escalating game of cat and mouse with william allen jordan turned dangerous? >> reporter: coming up -- >> i was panicked like oh, my god, he's here. he's here. >> the police are about to enter the picture. had she gone missing?
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>> reporter: mischele lewis had been playing william allen jordan at his own game, spying on the fake spy. but then one day after a hidden-camera session with him, she disappeared. >> the hours passed by, and i got really concerned. have you heard from her? do i need to go out and look for her? like, what's going on? >> reporter: mischele's mother had even called the police before mischele resurfaced. and you were now a missing person. >> yeah, she reported me missing. >> reporter: turns out the pressures of undercover work had finally gotten to mischele, and she'd taken a much-needed mental health day off by herself. >> so i went home first, and apologized profusely to my mom. then, i went to the police station.
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and they said, "okay, what's going on?" >> reporter: she told them about her year of spiraling down into this enigmatic man's strange world, of discovering his lies, of her undercover hunt for the truth. police launched a criminal investigation of their own. and then, they made their move. mischele was the bait. >> i said, this is where i'm going to be, and this is the route i think he takes. catch him. >> reporter: then she set up a date with jordan to run some errands, telling him she'd pick him up in town. >> i got there about two minutes before our meeting time. and for once, he was on time. >> reporter: she rolled down the window to hear him say he had to pop into the pharmacy, but he'd be back in a jiffy. >> i get on the phone with the police. and i'm like, "oh, my god, he's here. he's here. they need to come, like, right now." i was panicked at that point. i was hyperventilating on the phone. >> reporter: her frantic thought, if jordan jumped into her car before the cops nabbed him, what would he do as soon as they were surrounded?
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and now jordan was done with his errand. >> at that point, time just stopped. he came out of the pharmacy, was about to cross the street back over to me. >> reporter: every step he got closer was terrifying, but then police swarmed in. >> they came in and intercepted him and arrested him. >> reporter: a cameraman from the british "daily mail" had been tipped off about the arrest and captured these photos. he took a good long look at you at that point, didn't he? >> he did. i wanted to stare him down so that he knew i was the one who took him down. but when the time came, i was unnerved by it. >> reporter: relying in part on evidence mischele provided them, authorities booked jordan on charges of theft by deception, impersonating a law enforcement officer, and a third offense that may be surprising to some, sexual assault. mischele lewis claims she was a victim of a crime that's only just starting to be recognized in u.s. courtrooms, called rape by deception.
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>> because nothing that i knew about him was true. >> reporter: she says she was sexually assaulted by jordan, not by force, but by his lies. >> i really couldn't give him knowing consent to any kind of sexual relationship because i had no idea who on earth i was sleeping with. >> reporter: but mischele's case suffered a setback months later, when a new jersey grand jury failed to indict him on the sexual assault charge. >> they said that i couldn't prove that he was a harm to me, basically because he hadn't physically hurt me. >> reporter: as her case against jordan now moves through the court system, mischele wonders, are there other victims out there? >> i don't know if there's another victim in new jersey, pennsylvania, new york, d.c., baltimore, anywhere in between. >> reporter: mischele wondered, was he living with another woman and her children in that his cherry hill house, just as he'd once had two wives and two lives in scotland? "dateline" found out more about
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that cherry hill property. maybe you don't know this. the landlord of that property says that he indeed lived there, but he was evicted for failure -- >> no kidding? >> reporter: -- to pay rent. >> no, i didn't know that. >> reporter: had never owned it. and he lived there with a woman, identity unknown, and a child. >> wow, that's shocking. that is shocking. so there was someone else. at least one someone else. god knows. i don't know if that was his child, her child. wow. >> reporter: could that woman who lived with jordan in cherry hill be out there somewhere possibly still in the dark, thinking her man is off on some secret mission, instead of sitting in a new jersey jail? if there are other children of jordan's out there, mary turner thomson's girls are ready to welcome them into their unusual family. jordan's daughter eilidh skypes with some of her many siblings. >> we're all really good friends
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and we all look exactly alike. >> reporter: still, eilidh says many of jordan's children feel hurt by all he's left behind. >> i know loads of them who are, like, really damaged by it. like, really, really, damaged by it. >> reporter: the girls were glad to hear that jordan had been arrested. >> as nice as it would be to have more siblings, it would be easier for everyone if he just, like, just -- >> took a break. >> yeah. >> and stopped. >> reporter: and after his arrest, mary and her children were rooting for mischele lewis as she faced him in a new jersey courtroom. >> this is the case of the state of new jersey against william allen jordan. >> reporter: in 2015, he pleaded not guilty. >> it's laughable that he pleaded not guilty. i have so much evidence on it -- i don't think he even knows how much evidence i have on him. >> reporter: but after negotiations between attorneys, william allen jordan accepted a plea deal of three years in state prison for theft by
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deception. now almost two years later, jordan is free. this past october he was granted early release from prison with credits for good behavior, his work in prison, and the time he had already served in county jail. through his attorney, jordan has declined to speak with "dateline." >> this is going to be impact my life for years to come. >> reporter: mischele is now looking to protect other women by changing new jersey law to make rape by deception not just a crime of the heart, but a prosecutable offense. family and friends know that whatever happens in the new jersey courts, mischele lewis will have a bright future ahead of her, one she'll meet with arms and eyes wide open. >> she'll get her happily ever after. and she can rest knowing that, you know, will jordan is not going to have a happily ever after, not with her anyway, and hopefully not with anybody ever again. >> reporter: that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us.
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